They Declared That The Whole Rock Was Auriferous;
Stamping-Mills, Brocards, And Smelting-Furnaces Were Constructed.
After Having Expended Very Large Sums, It Was Discovered That The
Pyrites Contained No Trace Whatever Of Gold.
These essays, though
fruitless, served to renew the ancient idea that every shining rock in
Guiana is teeming with gold (una madre del oro).
Not contented with
taking the mica-slate to the furnace, strata of amphibolic slates were
shown to me near Angostura, without any mixture of heterogeneous
substances, which had been worked under the whimsical name of black
ore of gold (oro negro).
This is the place to make known, in order to complete the description
of the Orinoco, the principal results of my researches on El Dorado,
the White Sea, or Laguna Parime, and the sources of the Orinoco, as
they are marked in the most recent maps. The idea of an auriferous
earth, eminently rich, has been connected, ever since the end of the
sixteenth century, with that of a great inland lake, which furnishes
at the same time waters to the Orinoco, the Rio Branco and the Rio
Essequibo. I believe, from a more accurate knowledge of the country, a
long and laborious study of the Spanish authors who treat of El
Dorado, and, above all, from comparing a great number of ancient maps,
arranged in chronological order, I have succeeded in discovering the
source of these errors. All fables have some real foundation; that of
El Dorado resembles those myths of antiquity, which, travelling from
country to country, have been successively adapted to different
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